Monday, June 25, 2007

My Girlfriend ROCKS!!!!

From Noel to her TNT supporters

From: Noel Turner []
Sent: Monday, June 25, 2007 1:04 PM
Subject: There's always another ride...

Hello Friends and Supporters,


It's been four weeks now since Tahoe and America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride (June 3, 2007), and I apologize that this note is now woefully overdue.   Things did not go according to plan in Tahoe, and I was sort of waiting for the story to come to an end before I shared it with you all.


Attached is the final cue sheet I carried with me during the weekend, some of the mileage was off in earlier versions I sent out.   I did keep this with me during the whole weekend, and greatly appreciated your support.  Thank you for helping me raise approximately $5200 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, to find a cure for blood-related cancers and improve the quality of patient's lives.   Your donations mean so much to so many people; I continue to be touched by the people I meet through LLS and they all emphasize the importance of each and every dollar.


At America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride, 2000 TNT cyclists from across the US and Canada along with their sponsors raised $8.5 million to fight cancer!!   $8.5 million!  It just goes to show how any donation is a huge contribution – as it really adds up fast to become a very big number.   To date Team In Training has trained over 325,000 people (most of whom had never ran a race or anything in their lives), which has resulted in $750 million (!!) raised to fight cancer to date by funding needed research, educational activities, and family support programs.   Thanks again for your very generous support of my fundraising effort on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


$8.5 million to fight cancer, that's the good news.  The bad news is that neither Tom nor I got to ride in the century as planned.  


I've reattached my fundraising flyer here, as a reminder of why I started training for this century in the first place.   Tom and I signed up together to celebrate our love, friendship and health.  While we were in Tahoe, Tom had a little health scare and instead of riding we spent the day in the local hospital.


Apparently, Tom's heart started acting funny on Thursday, the day before we left for Tahoe.   He visited the nurse at work but nothing seemed to be seriously out of sorts and he didn't have time to visit an urgent care center for a more in depth exam.  Since the feeling passed, Tom didn't say anything and we hopped on our flight Friday morning and were in Tahoe by days end.   We woke up the next morning and went for a short ride with our team, to make sure our legs and bikes were ready for the big event on Sunday.   It was a gorgeous day and a very memorable but short little ride with the team.


On Saturday night, during the TNT pasta party (pep rally), Tom let me know there was something going on with his heart.   As he described it, every once in a while his heart would race for no particular reason.  At one point he put my hand on his chest so I could feel it, and I freaked out.   By the end of the dinner it had happened multiple times, and it didn't seem like it was going to turn itself off this time, as it had apparently done on Thursday (and at other times….Tom kept me in the dark until the last minute).  


Seeing as how we had a major endurance event slated for the next day, I wanted Tom to go to the hospital and get his ticker checked out before the ride.   So, off to the emergency room we went.  After a short wait, they took him back.  Five minutes later he popped out to let me and Ben (our TNT staff person) know he would be hooked up to machines for tests for at least four hours.   Ben and I went back to the hotel and got things ready for the next day, hoping for the best and trying to use the power of positive thinking.


Hours later (probably about midnight) Tom called to say that he would be staying in the hospital at least overnight, and he would not be able to do the ride.   Initially he encouraged me to ride without him, but later I had the distinct impression he wanted me to hang with him.


Truth be told, I had a hard time leaving the hospital even for the four hour test he had taken, and exploded in tears as Ben and I walked back to the car.   The situation was all too familiar to another in my life, which did not have a happy ending.


My mother passed away when I was seventeen.  At the time, she was on a cross-country trip, helping a friend move from San Diego, CA, to Florida.  Somewhere in New Mexico she had something go wrong with her heart.  Her friend, Penny, got her to the hospital, where the doctors assured her that everything would be fine.   They said they were just going to keep mom for observations and then Penny and mom could be on their way.   Penny went out to run a few errands get things ready to resume the trip, and when she got back to the hospital my mom had passed.   My mom was all by herself in a small hospital in a small town.


As Ben and I were leaving the hospital, even though we were planning to come back in 4 hours, all I could think was that Tom was by himself in a small hospital in a small town, and he too was having an arrhythmia.   Even if Tom had pushed me to ride, I just couldn't handle the thought of being on the wrong side of the lake if anything had happened, and so I spent the day with Tom at the hospital.


The good news is that everything with Tom is fine.  Waiting to confirm that is what held up my sending a note to you all, letting you know how Tahoe went.   While it was a miserable weekend for us, things turned around pretty quickly once they got him on some medication.  Tom had to find a cardiologist and have some additional tests done once we returned home.   Basically, he has a second electrical pathway in his heart that is sometimes kicked on.  When it runs, the heart takes in the normal signal as well as this second signal, and they seem to have an additive effect and cause his heart to race.   The doctors don't know what exactly causes the condition, but it is easily treated through medication or surgery.  Given the fact that Tom is young and his condition is well-regulated on the medications, he's not interested in the surgery right now (as all surgery has an element of risk).   It is something that may be necessary someday, but not now.  For now, Tom's instructions are to stay on his meds and visit his doctor again in one year.


Needless to say, we are relieved.  I am also a bit annoyed, as it just amounts to lousy timing really.  If it had happened one week earlier or one week later, we would have ridden and had a much different weekend.  Oh well!


Now we are looking for a local century in the next few months, so we can make good on our deal with all of our sponsors.   We don't want you to feel jipped, after all you did donate to support me to ride a mile or more, so I still owe you.  I'll keep you posted and let we know when we find one.


Thanks again for your generous support.



P.S. To those of you who meant to donate – it's not too late!!  I can still receive donations at

Monday, June 11, 2007

I'm cleared to get on a bike!!! YAY!!!

Just wanted to let everyone know that my Dr. cleared me to get back on my bike today. As I might have mentioned, Saturday before the ride I was diagnosed with Supraventricular Tachycardia and spent last the ride day in the hospital.

Basically there is a problem with the electrical regulation of my heart, and right before the ride my heart started beating rapidly, spiking to 190 BPMs at certain points. They don't really know why it happens but they can treat it.

Thanks to big Phrama, I have some wonderful meds that keep my heart-rate at a normal rate. I haven't exercised vigorously yet, but we'll see soon how the meds work when I get the heart going.

Anyway, the Dr. said I can get back on the bike and ride like a maniac. So hopefully I'll see some of you out at the alumni ride this weekend.

Thanks again for all your kind words and thoughts,

PS, the Dr. has kicked me off the caffeine. I've got a box of espresso GUs so if anyone has some other non-caffinated flavored GUs they'd like to trade I'm game. espresso love is super yummy.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Tahoe Ride Report - or I HEART My Heart

Thanks again for supporting my ride. Until we find a cure for blood cancer's the work of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) will remain essential and vital to the lives of patients and families around the country.

A couple amazing statistics:

  • The LLS riders at America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride in Tahoe last week raised over $8,400,000 to support the support and research programs of the society.
  • The National Capital Chapter alone raised over $335,000 for the Society.
  • Since its founding in the early 80's the Society has raised over $750,000,000 (a HUGE number even to Washington folks like me!) to support the mission of the Society.
  • And since the Society founding it has trained just south of 300,000 men and women for endurance events -- taking sofa slugs like me and turning them into only moderated out of shape athletes.

We had a great team out in Tahoe and their work throughout the year and at Tahoe was truly inspiring. They're done some great good.

Unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to ride with the Team this year. Shortly before I headed out to Tahoe (last Thursday) my heart started exhibiting an irregular heart rate that became increasingly concerning as we got closer to the ride.

As I headed in to work on Thursday, my heart started racing and beating extremely rapidly. I assumed it was attributable to a cold/bug I had. It slowed down on Thursday afternoon, so I just crossed my fingers and hoped it went away. On Friday, I spent a good portion of the day sleeping since we were flying across the country, so I didn't really notice alot. It raced now and again, but I was still hoping it would go away.

On Saturday we got up in the morning and the heart racing was back. We heading out for a short 8 mile warm up ride and it popped up a bunch of times during the ride. I had my heart rate monitor on so I could see my heart going from 130 beats per minute, up to 185 beats per minute, stay there for ten seconds and drop back down to 130 bpm. It probably did this something like a dozen times during the 8 mile ride. (the HRM didn't pick up all of them but if you look at the picture on the right, you can see where it caught two and you can also see what it looked like when my heart rate went up normally --quite a contrast.)

I took a nap after the ride and when I woke up it was still happening and I was starting to wonder whether it was such a good idea to go on a 100 mile bike ride in 80 degree weather with an as yet undetermined heart condition. Noel concured with my concern and we got the Team in Training staff to zip us down to Barton Memorial Community Hospital in South Lake Tahoe. (For what its worth, I was voted the "Most Normal Patient" in the ER that night. Truth be told the competition wasn't that steep considering my fellow ER mates were brought in by the local Sheriff. Apparently Tahoe has more of a crime problem than one would suspect. And boy is Meth popular. :-( )

Fortunately since it was a small hospital I was seen pretty quickly. They checked me in to the ER and ran a full cardiac workup. (An Aside: Note to the fine folks at 3M. On behalf of all men with chest hair, if you could get the guys in the R&D Dept. working on some EKG sticky tabs that aren't quite so sticky, we'd all really apprecite it. Thanks)

Well once they got me hooked up to the EKG, the Dr's face lit up and he commented that "He's going into SVT." Which meant absolutely nothing to me but didn't sound particularly good. Apparently this condition happens alot and in his numerous years in the ER he had never actually seen it captured on an EKG.

So it turns out that I have Supraventricular Tachycardia
. Basically the long and short, is that there is something wrong with the wiring of my heart. We still don't know yet why it is happening, but we're working on it. It is more of a nuisance than anything else, but it does need to get fixed.

Not surprisingly the Docs and nurses told me pretty quickly that I really can't be going out for a 100 mile bike ride the next day. Eventually I ended up being admitted to the hospital for observation over night and spent the Sunday of the ride at the hospital I did luck out and have a halfway decent hamburger and we were able to discover that the medicine Cardizem seems to get the heart rate under control and keeps the SVT at bay.

So right now I am in a bit of a holding pattern. I have an appointment with my cardiologist tomorrow afternoon and he's going to give me a little better picture of where we're going to go with this thing. The meds seem to be working pretty well, but I am not terribly enamored with the idea of having to take meds twice a day every day forever. There are some surgical remedies that are reportedly very effective, but I really need to sit down with the Dr and figure out what is best for me.

Noel was super awesome and hung with me all day on Sunday at the hospital. She kept me company and made sure the stay in the hospital was as enjoyable as possible. I think this was the first time I was actually admitted to a hospital, so it was good to have company. Unfortunately she missed her ride at Tahoe.

Once I get the green light from the Dr. we're going to schedule another Century. If the stars align, I can jump on one pretty soon and use the fitness I have attained training for Tahoe.

While it was obviously a big bummer missing the ride, the important part was that I was able to help support the society and help make a difference in the lives of patients and families fighting this disease.

Hopefully I'll have more info on upcoming rides and I'll make sure I let you know what is substituted for Tahoe and how the ride goes.

Thanks again for your support.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


I think I'm (getting) or am sick.  Feels like the flu maybe?  I'll still ride though.

Out on warm-up ride

Weather is good and I feel goodm.  Bike feels light.

Think we're going to head to the pearl izumi outlet after we get back to the hotel.

Day 2

We're up and have breakfast.   We've picked up our packets and this year they have picked baby blue for the giveaway shirts instead of the hideous safety yellow from last year.

I was feeling a bit off yesterday but I am feeling better this morning.

We've got a ride in an hour.

Steak and eggs is here.  Gotta go

Friday, June 01, 2007

on the road around the lake

Totally stoked!!! Its so beautiful!

In the land of gaming

We are in Reno.  Gotta love airports with slot machines.

We're on the bus taking roll making sure no one got lost on the flights out.

I'm getting excited for the right, although I am a bit worn down from the flying and getting up early.

Should be in Tahoe in 90 mins!

Good vibe on the bus!

In denver

Slept almost the whole way here.   Am a bit groggy.   Have about an hour to kill before the flight out to Reno.  

My guess is that we'll be in Tahoe in say --- 3 hours.

On plane!

We're on the plane heading for denver.  I've got a honey lime burrito and a copy of wired magazine for the flight.   still annoyed united charges us $5 for some crappy grub. 

Flight looks packed.

Will post again from denver!

Great team morale!!

And my alvert is kicking in! 

First part of trip done

We're parked at the airport!!! Yay!! Off to deal with TSA!